When a woman he had known for about a month showed up at his house asking to use his bathroom, a Kenosha man refused to let her in.
Moments later, smoke began billowing through his door.
According to a criminal complaint filed this week, Kenosha Police and firefighters were called to a home on 6800 block of 29th Avenue on at 6:18 p.m. Sept. 13. They found the homeowner outside his still-smoking home, and two piles of smoldering clothing on the stairs. The door to the main floor of the house was charred.
The homeowner told police a woman he had met about a month before and who he had not seen in a week had stopped by his house unexpectedly, banging on the door.
“When he opened the door, he found that (she) was highly intoxicated and he told her he did not want her to come inside,” the complaint states. He told her if she needed to use a bathroom she could go to a nearby gas station.
Shortly after he closed the door on the woman he saw smoke. Opening the door, he found a bag of clothing in flames with flames reaching to the ceiling. He grabbed a bucket, filled it with water and used it to put out the fire, according to the complaint.
A neighbor told police he pulled into his driveway to see smoke coming from his neighbor’s house. He then heard his neighbor yelling “you started my house on fire!” at a woman who was leaving the basement of the house and walking away. The second man followed the woman and grabbed her arm, holding her until police arrived.
Rhonda Olson, 54, of Racine, was charged with arson, first-degree recklessly endangering safety and disorderly conduct.
According to the criminal complaint, Olson spoke to a police officer and made conflicting statements, saying “I’m not a fire starter. Might have accidentally started the fire,” then later said she had been angry and that she lit a cigarette and threw it in a bag of clothing.
Olson is being held on $15,000 bond.